Former White House aide Lewis “scooter” Libby is not going down without a fight in his perjury trial. At the beginning of his trial in Washington his defence council has alleged Libby is the fall guy in the CIA leak scandal that risks engulfing some of the top men in the Bush administration, and that he is being sacrificed to protect key Bush strategist Karl Rove.
On the eve of the war in Iraq someone revealed to the press that Valerie Plame, the wife of diplomat Joseph Wilson, was a CIA operative. At the time Wilson was accusing the White House of manipulating intelligence to justify military intervention. Revealing the identity of a CIA agent is a serious offence. Libby is accused of lying during the following FBI investigation, and if found guilty risks 30 years in jail.
The journalist who broke the story was jailed to pressure her to reveal her source, as the case snowballed into a wide-ranging debate about the Bush administration’s control and use of information.
It seems that Rove, whose nickname is “Bush’s brain”, was thought too important to lose. Libby asked his boss, Dick Cheney, to try and save him, but Libby’s lawyer produced a note written by Cheney in court appearing to confirm he agreed with that evaluation.